If there is one thing that anyone who goes to Las Vegas must do above all else (forget the Bellagio fountains, the amazing Cirque du Soleil shows and the incredible shopping), it is to take a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon – I absolutely guarantee that you will not be disappointed!
Your journey will start in style, when you are collected from your hotel and taken to a private airport terminal to check-in for your flight. After you have been assigned your pilot and fellow fliers, its time to climb on board! The helicopters can only take a maximum of seven passengers, with three in the front with the pilot and four in the back. There really isn’t a bad seat – however, everyone will get a turn in the front seat, at some point during your flight, regardless.
Then comes the take off, as the blades start to whirl and the sound starts to build, the pilot provides a full safety briefing, plus an overview of what you will see, and then you start to move! It all feels a little dramatic, like you are in an action movie, as you hover just above the ground on your way to the runway. Then, it’s an about turn and you start to pick up speed, scooting above the runway like Magnum PI! Then you’re up in the air, admiring The Strip from a unique vantage point and winging your way towards Lake Mead.
During your flight, you are able to appreciate the sheer size of Lake Mead and enjoy a magnificent view of the Hoover Dam - before the scenery starts to get a little more dramatic! The red rocks of the Grand Canyon come into sight and the only word that fits, is breathtaking! The vast scale of the canyon, how small it makes you feel, and the ever-changing colours of the rocks is all so spectacular. You fly through the canyon, catching a glimpse of the skywalk (definitely not for the faint-hearted!) before dropping down into the canyon, where your pilot safely lands in a lunar-like clearing. Whilst here, there is plenty of time to take some photographs of the iconic scenery, along with an opportunity to enjoy some light snacks and even a glass of something fizzy! You certainly can’t take too many pictures – and it would be remiss not to include a few obligatory ‘selfies’!
Your return journey through the canyon, involves your pilot weaving a way through the dramatic red rocks, high above the Colorado River below. The view doesn’t becoming tiring - the rocks change colour, or shape, and you feel somewhat humbled that something so incredible has been there for so long and was created by nature. Humans can simply not compete on this scale. The route home is slightly different and you’ll see rainbow-like coloured rocks, before Las Vegas appears on the distant horizon. The helicopter heads towards the mesmerising lights and this time you get to fly along the strip and to see all the incredible hotels from a fun and unique angle. You won’t believe how many pools there are and you might even see a dolphin or two! Then, it’s back down to earth with a gentle bump, and somehow, the contrast between the bright lights of the city and the tranquillity of the Grand Canyon, becomes all too apparent.
I think that the two most perfect times of the day to fly are during the early morning and, of course, sunset. It’s definitely worth getting up early to be on that first flight of the day, and who wouldn’t want to see the canyon in all its glory at dusk, when the rocks seem to glow and change colour before your very eyes... then, the pièce de résistance – The Strip in all its glory, illuminated and alluring at night.
I bet it’s now top of your ‘to-do’ list, next time you’re in Vegas, isn’t it?!